While exploring a bit between the connection between gratitude and grace, I came across a sermon from John Piper from November 26, 1981 entitled Grace, Gratitude, and the Glory of God. And it pretty much sums it all up!
So I'm going to point you in John Piper's direction today as he explains the connection so well. In this sermon, he looks at 2 Corinthians 4:15, "For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God." He looks at the context of that verse and then dives into the meaning of gratitude by the Greek words, our experiences, and how it all ties in with grace. He points out, "Grace is charis and gratitude is eucharistian because gratitude is a response to grace." I love Piper's words about the Greek words that help us better understand the grace-gratitude connection:
Almost all English translations miss a beautiful opportunity to preserve in English a play on words that occurs in Paul's Greek. Paul says, "It is all for your sake, so that as charis extends to more and more people it may increase eucharistian to the glory of God." The Greek word for thanks is built on the word for grace: charis becomes eucharistian. This could have been preserved in English by the use of 'grace' and 'gratitude' which show the same original root. So I would translate: "It is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase gratitude to the glory of God." The reason this is important is because when we try to define thanks or gratitude, what we find is that it has a very close relationship to grace. Unless we see this relationship, we really don't know what gratitude is.
I love learning about the meaning of words, and I especially love learning about connections like this. It encourages me and challenges me to be a person of gratitude. Piper sums it up well when he says, "Gratitude is joy toward God for his grace." His grace can be seen in all things. I want to reflect that grace by joyfully choosing gratitude.
May we be people who live lives of thanksgiving that point others to the grace of God.
Piper, John. (1981, November 26) Grace, Gratitude, and the Glory of God http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/grace-gratitude-and-the-glory-of-god